Do you remember what were you doing in May 2009? Not so many people know this, but I was 23 years old when I travelled abroad for the first time. And this is how my Norway trip started.
I took an overnight minibus from Cluj, Romania to the airport in Budapest. It was a 6-hour trip. Then I had to wait seven hours until my plane took off. Direction? Oslo, where my boyfriend at the time was waiting for me. The plane ticket with Norwegian Airlines was more than a month of my whole salary. Yes, plane tickets were that expensive, but my salary was also that small. It is rather sad when you think I was working as the showrunner of a show for a local TV station.
The whole month of September, I will share 30 stories with you. One story each day. You will find out how I travelled, what countries I called home and how many times I repeated a travel in the same place. But most importantly, you will get to know my comfort zone stories. Would you share yours?
I loved being there! Everything seemed extraordinary to me, except for the prices. Can you blame me? I was there for 10 days, and I did as much exploring as I could have. Or at least that’s what I told myself. At the time, I was considering to enrol on the masters in Oslo. I could have been with my boyfriend and advanced in my degree. If you read the about me page, you know that didn’t happen. But thinking I will return in a few months, I decided not to visit all the places I wanted. Especially museums that seemed expensive. Truth be told I haven’t properly checked if some of them had free entrance. So basically, I avoided anything expensive.
If you want to hear me talk about my whole trip to Norway, you can listen to one of the first episodes of Travelling Inside Out, recorded while in a hostel in Budapest back in 2018.
I remember like it was yesterday the joy of taking a look at the paper map I brought from home and choosing a spot where to go to. Yes, back in 2009 I bought a paper map of Oslo to get around. I still have the map back in Romania. I have done that each day of my staying there.
Vigeland Park stunned me more than a lot. I didn’t even know about it before getting there. And I actually love sculptures in general. That was legit sculpting heaven and I stayed there for hours. And I was also amazed by kids climbing all over the sculptures, we don’t necessarily see this back in Romania.
Another place that left an impression on me was Viking Ship Museum. I mean, I am short but that ship was humongous. Plus I saw a real skeleton of an actual Viking. And then, when I was waiting for the bus to come, a random man passed by me and started a conversation. He had two Cannon cameras by his neck. That’s all I remember, no clue what he told me. But I still have his picture. That’s very random.
The Botanical Garden was very refreshing, especially since it had free entry. Haha. And the harbour, how can anyone not enjoy spending time by the harbour?! It was also my first time seeing the summer light of a Northern country and it was stunning. To see light around midnight, was a feeling I couldn’t describe. If only I knew that in 2015 I was going to move to Iceland and experience that every summer for years to come.
I always love to see places from up top, and so we made it to Frognerseteren. In actuality, it’s a great starting spot for hiking and skiing, but we only had a drink at a Kafé Seterstua and then headed back. The view was incredible, however, during summer the trees will make it harder for you to see all the way down to the harbour. The Norwegian summer made me fall in love with travelling for the first time. And the sparkle ignited in me was never to be tamed.
The 2009 Alina was also impressed with recycling bottles. You take them to a supermarket. Then you get a voucher that you can use in the supermarket. I couldn’t believe how easy it seemed. It’s funny when I think they just started implementing this in Romania in the last couple of years. Pfff! Oh, and they had a machine that would give you an exact change for coins. In Romania, they would still give you chewing gum or instant coffee for a change. I also remember that we were able to pay by card everywhere. Even on the bus.
Speaking of buses. Most of the time I would take the train/subway, but one day I was supposed to meet the said boyfriend close to his job. He told me where to take the bus from and what stop to get off. Except, the innocent me didn’t know I have to call for the bus to stop. And so I just stood in front of the door and the bus just passed by the stop. I looked surprised at the driver, but I was too shy to ask what is going on. At the next stop, I got lucky because someone was getting on the bus. I have no idea how long I would have stayed like this without understanding why the bus driver won’t stop at a bus stop.
In the end, the trip was amazing but I had to go back home. I was sure I will come back to study for my master’s. My boyfriend drove me to the airport and… that was the last time I ever saw him. In the month of July I found out my show was cancelled and he broke up with me through a text message a few days earlier. Talk about harsh summers!
The saddest thing is my laptop died a few months later and I lost most of my pictures from that trip. I only still have the pictures I posted on Fb and some sent to my mum. Oh, and I wrote about it on my Romanian blog. You could have a look at least for the pictures. And this is not the last time I lost weeks and weeks of travelling pictures. But about that in a future article.
I haven’t been back to Norway ever since then, and I always dreamed of going back and exploring other parts of the country. Bergen is calling my name. Maybe one day, soon. What place would you choose to visit in Norway?
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